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Showing posts from August, 2022

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Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park infographics: what's built/what's coming/what's missing, who's responsible, + project FAQ/timeline (pinned post)

New guidance from the Treasury Department would further affordable housing, but only for low-income units

If the 421-a tax break doesn't return soon, are there any alternatives for developers of the Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park project? An 8/26/22 Bloomberg article Affordable Housing Developers Look to the White House for Help  notes that, nationally speaking, "supply-chain disruptions, inflation and a shortage of construction workers drive costs up and extend development timelines." But the White House will allow use of American Rescue Plan funding for affordable housing: The new guidance from Treasury enables the use of these funds to fully finance long-term affordable housing loans. That would make a lot more financing available for projects built using Low-Income Housing Tax Credits, the nation’s primary vehicle for building new affordable housing. That's low-income affordable housing, not middle-income "affordable housing," as enabled by the most recent iteration of the 421-a. What Treasury said From a 7/27/22 press release from the U.S. Treasury Department

Could a successor to 421-a resurface? It's up for debate, but the real-estate industry is not willing to publicly set a bottom line.

The resurrection of some version of the 421-a tax break program, for which the proposed successor--Gov. Kathy Hochul's 485-w--was denied by the legislature, is key to the construction of future Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park residential towers. That said, the not-yet-vertical B5 (700 Atlantic Ave.), was supposed to qualify for the previous iteration of 421-a, according to developer Greenland USA (which owns nearly all of Greenland Forest City Partners), which would grant the 35-year tax break while requiring 30% affordability, with middle-income units geared mostly to households earning six figures. The prevalence of that option, as opposed to other options that provided deeper affordability in tandem with other subsidies, has soured many affordable housing advocates regarding the tax break. As noted in the article, 421-a led to only a fraction of low-income units. The last two Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park buildings, B15 (662 Pacific St., aka Plank Road) and B4 (18 Sixth Ave., aka Broo

In skeptical look at proposed Penn Station development, NYT says Hudson Yards developer's trying to renegotiate. (What about Atlantic Yards?)

From the New York Times today,  Penn Station Plan Makes a High-Stakes Bet on the Future of Office Work , regarding Gov. Kathy Hochul and her Empire State Development (ESD, the state authority that also oversees/shepherds Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park) and their backing for ten mostly office towers  around Penn Station, mostly owned by Vornado. There are lots of questions around the demand for office towers, especially in this 33-acre site, as well as the tax breaks and financing, which has prompted skepticism from, among others, former MTA Chairman and "wise man" Richard Ravitch. And at Hudson Yards? Another reason for skepticism is the very mixed results at Hudson Yards, which awaits a deck over the second half of the project. From the article: Underscoring the shifting ambitions of Hudson Yards, Related has tried to renegotiate its existing agreement with the M.T.A. for several years, according to two people familiar with the efforts. The developer had pledged to build si

After Goldman seemingly wins narrow pluralty in 10th Congressional District, a WFP challenge from Niou in November? Brisport easily holds state Senate seat.

In a low-turnout August election for the new 10th Congressional District, which includes Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park, the relatively moderate, significantly self-funded (and NY Times-endorsed) candidate, former impeachment counsel Dan Goldman, seems to have won a narrow plurality, at least without the absentee ballots counted, according to the Times. The farthest left candidate, Yuh-Line Niou, came in second, and did not concede, saying she wanted to see the absentee ballots counted. That leaves open the possibility that she could challenge Goldman in November on the Working Families Party line; see this argument . She'd still be battling uphill, and that doesn't mean that votes from Mondaire Jones and Carlina Rivera would necessarily go to her.  Journalist Ross Barkan  suggested  that Jones, a sitting Congressman who relocated to Brooklyn to run in the new district, faced the biggest loss. Interestingly, as indicated on the maps, Niou might have triumphed had the votes that

An office rebound in Brooklyn? A marketing plan for a unique property in Williamsburg offers only partial parallels for Site 5, still waiting for proposals.

Would Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park ever get more office space? Well, let's look at the prospects for such space in Brooklyn. Remember, several versions of the plan --as of 2016, at least--for development at Site 5, catercorner to the arena block, included a significant amount of office space, but building office space is a question mark in pandemic-era Brooklyn.  So it's likely that developer Greenland Forest City Partners is hedging its bets, in a proposal I'd expect to be unveiled within the next year (possibly much sooner, but everything has been delayed).  Surely the plan for two towers, incorporating a shift of bulk from the unbuilt B1 (aka "Miss Brooklyn") tower once slated to loom over the arena, would emphasize residential space. But maybe they'd leave open the option for some office space, since that of course can be defended with "jobs." A bit of hype Consider the 5/30/22 New York Times article, N.Y.C. Companies Are Opening Offices Where Th

After weeks of drama and speculation, Nets and star Durant announce they're "moving forward with our partnership." The best, if ambiguous, outcome for all?

After weeks of drama and speculation, the stand-off between star Kevin Durant and the Brooklyn Nets ended yesterday with KD blinking--rescinding his trade demand and (apparently) his reported request for the coach and General Manager to be replaced--and star and team declaring kumbaya, with a statement attributed to both the team (GM/coach/owners) and KD+management about "moving forward with our partnership." — Brooklyn Nets (@BrooklynNets) August 23, 2022 That reverses the picture as of early July, with the Nets in turmoil, with Durant requesting a trade and guard Kyrie Irving, who couldn't reach agreement on a contract extension, expected to be traded, too. Instead, with little market for Irving, he recommitted to the team.  The upshot? Perhaps the best outcome that was possible, given the difficulty of trading Durant for commensurate return, and the likelihood that, on paper at least, the 2022-23 Nets could be a powerhouse, assuming

In the Congressional primary today, unlike for the open seat in 2006, Atlantic Yards is not on the agenda. Only one candidate (Simon) mentions it.

Well, there's a Democratic primary today for the newly drawn 10th District, which includes the Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park site and extends from Borough Park to Lower Manhattan. Unlike when the seat containing the site was last open ( 2006 !), the project is not on the agenda. Note that Rep. Yvette Clarke, whose district lines have moved, had much to do with the project (other than some photo ops, and sending a staffer to public meetings, and thus promoting job openings, etc.).  Bigger players in Congress like former Rep. Charles Rangel and Sen. Chuck Schumer have helped the project, directly and indirectly, by getting tax-exempt bonds grandfathered in and ensuring that cheap EB-5 financing for immigrant investors remained afloat (and failing to apply scrutiny to a dubious program). So, while the project may re-surface as a Congressional issue, other local issues--as The City pointed out --are more pressing, including funding for public housing, climate change, and repair of the Br

More clouds over Adams and his pals.They don't deserve the benefit of the doubt (re scofflaw Woodland or "people who have stumbled")

There's some important news in two recent articles on Mayor Eric Adams and his dubious pals. Let's start with Politico's 8/6/22 report,  How Adams' pals — and a favorite dining spot — link him to one of the state's top tax delinquents , then go to the front-page New York Times coverage yesterday,  Eric Adams After Dark: A Private Table and Tarnished Friends . Notable is how Politico unearthed evidence of how the companion-or is it wife?--of a felon is (maybe) being used to evade state liquor laws. And that felon, Robert Petrosyants, is a friend of Mayor Eric Adams and the twin of Zhan (Johnny) Petrosyants, an even closer friend of the mayor's. Also notable: how the Times found Adams spent so much time at the twins' Osteria La Baia--at least 14 evenings in June--with no evidence of who, or how, he paid for his meals, which runs afoul of guidance--if not an explicit ban--from the city’s Conflicts of Interest Board. (And, oh, the "vegan" mayor orders

In Times article on "luxury rental buildings" offering new WFH conveniences, Brooklyn Crossing (30% "affordable"!) gets a cameo

From the New York Times Real Estate section, published 7/23/22, Luxury Rental Buildings Take ‘Working From Home’ to the Next Level : Developers across the nation are doing what they can to make remote work more convenient to lure prospective tenants, setting off an amenities war as luxury rental buildings and condos dangle must-have conveniences like private offices, conference rooms, task lighting, wall-mounted monitors, podcasting booths and high-speed internet.  ...Other developers are switching gears midway through construction. At Brooklyn Crossing in Prospect Heights, Thomas Brodsky, a partner at the family-run development firm Brodsky Organization, scrapped plans for an open lounge and added semiprivate cubicles and “phones booths” instead to the building’s co-working space, scheduled to open in August. A couple of things to note. First: Brooklyn Crossing (aka B4 or 18 Sixth Ave.) contains 30% income-targeted, "affordable" units, but they're aimed at middle-income

Newsday columnist: demolishing the Coliseum "would provide a fresh start." (Does the EB-5 middleman profit?)

Another influential voice is calling for the demolition of the renovated, but lagging, Nassau Coliseum, following a Newsday editorial and comments by the Nassau County Executive.   Can the Nassau Coliseum curse ever be lifted ?" wrote Newsday columnist Randi Marshall, who likely wrote the earlier editorial. Her 8/2/22 column recalled the referendum, eleven years earlier, when county taxpayers rejected a referendum to use taxpayer funds for a new Coliseum. (Newsday backed the referendum.) Now the arena's mostly dark, "surrounded by 72 acres of parking lot," which could be developed. Marshall blames not only elected officials: The rejections of good plans and the proposals of bad ones. The Islanders' move to Brooklyn and back. The constant tenant changeover. The pandemic. The new UBS Arena at Belmont Park just a few miles to the west. A renovation that left the Coliseum with little more than a $100 million loan that hangs on it like an albatross. The vague rumbl

From the latest Construction Update: still waiting for announced platform work to start, as well as announced work on Dean Street; no mention of school buildout

The latest Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park Construction Update (bottom), covering the two weeks beginning Monday, Aug. 22 , was circulated at 4:10 pm yesterday (lead time) by Empire State Development (ESD) after preparation by Greenland Forest City Partners (GFCP), which is dominated by Greenland USA. It just didn't tell us much. I saw little new compared to the  previous update , and the document again excludes the most dramatic change around the project footprint--the work at the arena plaza for revamping of the pavement and other features.  There was no mention that the buildout of the middle-school--announced separately last week by the developer/operator of the B15 tower (662 Pacific St., aka Plank Road), after communication from the School Construction Authority--was supposed to  start . One change is that there is no longer any after-hours or weekend work at the B4 site, 18 Sixth Ave. (aka Brooklyn Crossing), and there's no more work on residential units there, so apparently

If (ACORN-inspired) MHANY aimed to help low- and moderate-income families, well, Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park is an awkward fit

Earlier this year, I  looked at MHANY, aka Mutual Housing Association of New York (formerly ACORN Housing), and its marketing of middle-income affordable housing at B4 (Brooklyn Crossing) and B15 (Plank Road), for which the housing group, aimed at those struggling for decent housing, must echo corporate marketing-speak.  Even more dramatic is the less-than-affordable, income-targeted middle-income housing at The Willoughby, which also involves MHANY . I took a further look at MHANY's web site. Coupled with articles and a video, that further confirms the awkward fit MHANY has with much (but not all) of Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park, where a disproportionate percent of the below-market units are aimed at middle-income households. I'm not privy to MHANY's organizational decisions; it's surely not well-resourced, and it probably can't sit out potential contracts and collaborations involving units not aimed at its core constituency of the underserved.  As Borough Presiden

Changing skyline around Atlantic Terminal, as 100 Flatbush (part of 80 Flatbush) rises; a nudge for/warning against Site 5 ambitions

The context around Downtown Brooklyn/Atlantic Terminal keeps changing--and that's both a nudge for development at Site 5 of Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park and a warning against the ambitions previously expressed, as explained below. As shown in the photos below, the first of two towers in the project originally called 80 Flatbush and now called The Alloy Block, is rising at the corner of Flatbush Avenue and State Street, with the northern boundary of the overall parcel Schermerhorn Street and the western boundary Third Avenue. As noted by NY YIMBY , the building currently under construction is 44-story, 482-foot-tall 100 Flatbush Avenue .  It will have 441 apartments, with 45 affordable housing--10% of the total, or 25% of the 184 apartments that were added as a substitute for the 100,000 square feet of office space originally planned. I reported on the swap for Bklyner in May 2021. Note: you can't fit 184 apartments into 100,000 square feet unless they're small, given that t

Construction of middle school finally starts today, at base of B15 (aka Plank Road); main work should take two years, but 2025 opening still seems best bet

Construction on the interior of the long-awaited Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park middle school, known as I.S. 653, is finally starting today, according to the School Construction Authority (SCA), and should take two years.  Sixth Ave. entrance, July 26, 2022 The school sits at the base (five-six floors, plus underground) of the completed 662 Pacific Street (B15, aka Plank Road) residential tower, just east of Sixth Avenue, between Pacific and Dean streets. The school likely will have a 491 Dean Street address. Though no opening date has been announced, and that theoretically leaves a chance for a fall 2024 opening, I'd bet that with system tests and other preparatory work, it won't be ready until 2025, which is the current date on the SCA's schedule. That schedule, as I recently reported , indicated a construction start in July, not August, and completion in March 2025.  The builders of B15 created the school's core and shell, while the SCA completes the creation of the sch